Vikings guard Nick Easton, who hasn’t practiced since last week, remained out on Monday because of what league sources said were neck and back issues.
Easton, who played 12 games for the Vikings last year before fracturing his ankle, has been projected as the team’s starting left guard again after the team placed a second-round tender on him as a restricted free agent last spring. Easton had been playing center with Pat Elflein on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
The last time Easton practiced was Thursday, when he misfired on two snaps to Kirk Cousins, including one that ended practice. The only time Easton has been seen on the practice field since then was when he walked out with the Vikings’ other injured linemen to take in the team’s Saturday night practice.
With Easton, Elflein and right guard Mike Remmers — who is battling an ankle injury — out again Monday, the Vikings put Tom Compton at left guard, second-year man Cornelius Edison at center and Danny Isidora at right guard.
“Edison’s a fighter. He’s powerful,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Compton is playing like a veteran. Isidora, I thought he was better today. Last week wasn’t his best week but we talked about some things, so I think he’ll be better.”
Surging WR candidate
The Vikings liked receiver Brandon Zylstra enough to outbid other NFL teams for his services by guaranteeing him $275,000 out of the Canadian Football League. Now Zylstra, the New London-Spicer graduate, is showing why during training camp practices.
Zylstra has stood out with highlight-reel grabs, including a couple sideline snags during Saturday night’s practice at TCO Stadium in Eagan.
“You always say it’s kind of a nice, nifty grab, but at the same time you’re trying to make those look routine anyway,” Zylstra said.
Helping his case is Zylstra’s special teams roles. He’s featured on nearly every coverage and return group. He’s even practicing backup holding duties during extra-point attempts.
“I’m the backup’s backup right now,” Zylstra said.
No need to panic
The Vikings have some new faces off the bench in the defensive tackle rotation. One of them could be second-year lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo, drafted last year as a defensive end in the seventh round out of Northwestern. Odenigbo has since added weight and moved inside, where coach Mike Zimmer said his power could better serve the line.
Veteran defensive end Brian Robison knows about moving from the end to inside, where the speed of the game intensifies.
“For him, it’s just making sure he’s playing technique sound since things happen so fast in there,” Robison said. “Guys tend to panic a little bit and try to think too much. He’s done a good job so far.”
The Vikings pushed back their practice times for Thursday’s sessions by two hours, with the walkthrough now taking place between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. and the full-pads practice going from 4:45 to 7 p.m.